Searching for Fun: Impreza vs Focus vs Mazda3
This seemingly mundane comparison has created some interesting discussions and clarification of what we look for on this show. We knowingly gathered the non-enthusiast versions of cars we enjoy (and tried to get a VW Golf in the mix) to see if a “luke-warm” hatch could still offer driver fun.
Soon the question was raised “why even look for fun in a car like this?” and that speaks specifically to what we do, who we are, and why this show exists.
The truth is, there are very few unacceptable cars being sold right now. If someone is looking for mere transportation: an appliance for getting through traffic, to Starbucks, and the store, then most any car sold is capable. From this perspective we may as well move to autonomous vehicles because a car is merely a transportation pod, an appliance with a singular purpose. Like our refridgerator, dishwasher, or lawn mower, an appliance needs to perform a task repeatedly with minimal involvement and is unlikely to stir any love or excitement.
We refuse to see cars as an appliance. A car can stir emotions. Driving a spectacular road can spawn a lifelong memory. Cars can excite, and terrify. And like a personal trainer, a great car can even work us over time into someone better and more capable than the first time we met. Your car can express your personality and your sense of style (or lack thereof). A car is a strange mix of mechanical capability and art. And like art, our choices are both expensive and personal.
Paul and I look for a car to be compelling. That applies to these hatches as well as anything else. In any car we drive we’re hoping for it to reveal a capability or quirk that sets it apart from all the capable but uninteresting appliances offered to the car-buying public. These traits aren’t revealed in traffic any more than walking to the mailbox shows a person’s athletic ability.
We took these three hatches out of traffic to a road worth driving, and hoped they would make us smile. As often happens, the results surprised us.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons a person could buy a car that isn’t fun to drive. Real life invades and compromises must be made. But for those who want a car to make them smile any time the traffic clears or the road kinks, you’re one of us.
We will continue to look for great cars worthy of great roads, for every budget, size, and enthusiast driver. New or used, fast or slow, we want everyone to love the car they use “Everyday”.